Carquefou: Church of Saint Pierre et Saint Etienne!

Well as said, having done some road warrior trips out west…in my belle France came back to Carquefou. The town is at the crossroads of autoroutes A11 and A811 in the Loire Atlantique dept 44 of Pays de la Loire region.

As said, did a post on the practical side of Carquefou  ,however, the Church of Saint Pierre et Saint Etienne is so gorgeous! need a post apart for it. It is very imposing walking on rue du 9 août 1944 (where we parked my car)  into Place St Pierre.  The text so well explained is my adjusted translation from the Catholic parish of Carquefou on the church. Hope you enjoy as we did.

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As the story goes; the old church consisted of a nave about 19 meters long by 9 meters wide, a choir 6 meters wide by 6 meters deep, two side chapels 11 meters long, separated from the nave and the choir by two voluminous pillars against which are leaned two small altars. This church does not offer enough space for the population. On 1850, it was unanimously recognized the urgency of a new construction, urgency reiterated at the meeting in 1862 or twelve years later!

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Finally , the new church was laid the first stone and blessed on December 8 1870, with the construction of the shell lasting about three years; however, it remained to garnish the interior. First, the altars, pulpit, communion table, statues, Stations of the Cross of the old church will be rearranged in the new church, as seen in an old photograph from the end of the 19C!. The new furniture would come only a few years later thanks to new donors.

carquefou ch st pierre et st etienne wall right jul20

The keystones are numerous in the new Church of St Pierre et St Etienne with 24 in total, including eight in the choir and the central nave, one in each chapel and seven in each side bay. They are adorned with bishop’s coats of arms, biblical scenes, or a prophecy from the prophet Isaiah, a sea anchor, acanthus leaves or the coats of arms of donors. For the complete completion of the steeple to the spire, work began in 1895 and was completed at the end of 1896. A high spire dominates the church and the louver chamber is ready to receive the bells. The first and heaviest, weighs 1800 kg and name   Alix-Andrée. The second,weighs 1150 kg, and name Emilie-Sophie. The third, weighing 800 kg, and its name is Marie The fourth being Pauline-Armande-Calixte from 1849 weighing 450 kg as the oldest,having some leaks it was replaced by Juliette Geraldine with a weight of 380 kgs.

carquefou ch st pierre et st etienne nave back to altar jul20

The stained-glass windows were produced in 1872 by a team of twelve glassmakers from Nantes . The high altar in white Carrara marble done in 1902 , is adorned with a campanile, bell towers, arcades and columns that reveal gilded mosaics with floral motifs , and frames a very beautiful golden tabernacle. At the back of the altar is the marriage medal of a family from Epinay. The two side altars have as theone on the left, in white stone, dedicated to the Virgin, was made in November 1891. Until 2001, it was surmounted by the statue of a Madonna and Child: “The Divine Shepherdess” . Due to the chisel of the same sculptor and currently placed opposite the Baptismal Font. The ancient wooden statue of Notre Dame la Blanche or Our Lady the White now dominates this altar. The base represents a very beautiful Annunciation, framed by carved lilies. The third altar from 1893 is dedicated to Saint Anne and Saint John the Baptist and surmounted by a niche which housed, until 1998, the reliquary of Saints Peter and Paul. It houses the statues of Saint Anne and Saint John the Baptist now. Its base is embellished with three marbled marble medallions with the interwoven initials of Saint Anne, Saints Peter and Paul and Saint John the Baptist. In 1854, the relics of St Pierre and St Paul, patrons of the parish were unveiled, placed in a charming reliquary, due to the piety of the parishioners This was the object of a parish feast at the old church, and once this reliquary placed in the current church, at the altar of St. Anne in the niche above the altar. Since 1998, the reliquary has taken place at the high altar, above the tabernacle.

carquefou ch st pierre et st etienne altar tabernacle et portraits jul20

The three large paintings of 3 meters by 5.50 meters placed at the back of the choir, above the high altar, were painted and offered by Louis Serrandat de Belzim. Then in 1900, there were the two canvases representing the Patrons of our church: Peter, standing in a boat shaken by the storm, and Paul preaching in front of a temple dedicated to the “unknown God”. Under the bell tower, a large canvas representing Christ on the cross, surrounded by the Virgin Mary, St John and Mary Magdalene. Two other paintings placed above the two doors giving on the place St Pierre, represent a bishop and a monk; there is also a descent from the Cross which faces the stained glass window of St André. These four canvases probably come from the old church and bear no sign of signature.

carquefou ch st pierre et st etienne back nave jul20

Fourteen statues adorn the Church St Pierre et St Etienne. These are:

Notre-Dame la Blanche dates from the 14C. La Divine Bergère; the Virgin holds the Child Jesus on her left arm and a staff in her right hand; the Child is holding some ears of wheat and two sheep are crowding along the statue. The statue of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, under the patronage of the Missions, and the Blessed Joseph Bécavin. Blessed Joseph Bécavin was the child of a large Carquefou’s family. During the French revolution, ordained a priest a few months before, he was massacred in Les Carmes, in Paris, on September 2, 1792, along with many confreres. His memory is venerated there and every year, in September, a mass is celebrated there. The statues of Saint Joseph and the Sacred Heart, Saint Anne and Saint John the Baptist adorn the altar dedicated to them. In this same chapel in the west transept, there is a small Virgin and Child, placed on a plinth of wood. It would come from the Chapel of Avaugour, which has now disappeared, and which stood on the edge of the town of Mauves. A large Christ on a wooden cross, of which no trace can be found in the registers, was placed on one of the pillars of the choir, facing the pulpit. It is currently on the wall of the west transept. The two niches next to the transept doors housed, until 1999, the beautiful dark wood statues of the Patron Saints of the parish: Peter and Paul. Until 1945, they were covered with white paint; stripped and repainted, they contribute to the richness of the church. For a few years, they have been placed against the back wall of the building The statue of Saint Anthony, also in dark wood, is placed at the back of the church and faces the two polychrome statues of the Saint Archangel Michael and Saint Philomena.

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The Baptismal Fonts were made and blessed in April 1901. They consist of a 600 kg tank. It rests on a central column surrounded by four small columns. The white marble set weighs 1200 kg. On September 26, 1897, the pulpit was inaugurated. Very imposing, in carved wood with a staircase leading to the ambo adorned with four statuettes representing the Evangelists. It is topped by a carved and openwork banded roof, inside which a dove with outstretched wings completed the ensemble. On October 30, 1880, a five-stop pipe organ was purchased. This organ was moved in 1970 during the redevelopment of the choir and put in the transept, east side, then it was permanently removed when the City Council made the purchase, for the church of an electronic organ.

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The Catholic parish of Carquefou on the Church St Pierre et St Etienne in French: Catholic Parish of Carquefou on Church St Pierre et St Etienne

The city of Carquefou on practical information: City of Carquefou practical information

So now feel better in showing this beautiful monument of Carquefou right in city center of course surrounded by great goodies shops and nice restaurants that invites a return soon. Hope you enjoy the take on the Church of St Peter and St Stephen of Carquefou!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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